Sociology - Demography - Birth rates

Revision cards about the changes in birth rate, including statistics, reasons and different perspectives.

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  • Created by: Tasmin
  • Created on: 26-05-10 15:35

Birth Rate - Statistics

Birth rate - The total numbers of birthday per 1000 per population per year

In general, the birth rate has decreased over the last 100 years

Birth Rate has declined from 28 per 1000 in 1902 to about 11 per 1000 in 2005

There were three Baby Booms - after the wars and during the 1960s
Apart from these periods the birth rate has decreased

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Birth Rate - Reasons

Reasons for the decrease in birth rate include:

  • Changes in the position of women (women see new opportunities in live rather than being a housewife so have children later on in life, or remail childless)
  • Improvement and availabilty of contraception and abortions (the use of contraception and abortions is more accepted + less stigmatized against, also allows women to decide whether or not to have children)
  • Declining Infant Mortality Rate (means women don't have to have more than 1 child for security that their children will survive)
  • Geographical Mobility (women have less children or none, so that it is easy to move around)
  • Compulsory Education (makes children dependent for longer + is also expensive so women will choose to have less or no children)
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Women's Position

Sharpe states that the position of women has changed. This gives reason for why the birth rate has declined.

Sharpe found that when asked 'What are you main concerns for the future?' in 1970 most girls responded with - to get married and start a family
However, in 1990 most girls responded with - to have a career and be able to support themselves

FEMINISTS- women are no longer oppressed by a patriarchal society as they can support themselves

FUNCTIONALISTS- women are not fulfilling their natural function

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Birth Rate - Effects of a smaller birth rate

Smaller family sizes means women can go out to work, which creates Dual Earner couples (Willmott and Young)

However, Middle Class families may be able to have more children as they will be able to provide for their children due to being able to afford child care

Also, a smaller birth rate may create a smaller burden of dependency in the short term, as the working population will be larger than the dependent population

However, in the long term this will create a larger burden of dependency as there is a larger dependent population than working population. One way to overcome this would be to raise the pension age.

Having less children may make the family more child-centered, meaning that they will be focused on caring for and providing a good life for their child.

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